Friday, December 30, 2005

Minister steps aside amid Iraq oil crisis

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi has assumed direct control of the powerful oil ministry as crude exports grind to a halt due to sabotage attacks and logistics problems, officials say.

Mr Chalabi, who has been improving relations with Washington after previously falling out with the US administration, was appointed acting oil minister after the incumbent Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum was given leave, the officials say.

Mr Uloum told Reuters he was "intent on resigning" while aides to Mr Chalabi, a former financier, confirmed he had been appointed acting oil minister.

"I object to the decision of putting me on leave and the mechanism by which it was done after I objected to the government's decision to raise fuel prices," Mr Uloum said.

I wasted some time trying to find a clever sports analogy for the latest stepping stone in Ahmad's career--you can probably think of a perfectly miserable baseball manager, football coach or some such who keeps getting hired for job after job because he goes hunting with the general manager, belongs to the same golf club as the team president, or something like that.

Then I realized that I was overlooking the obvious role model.


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